By Cian Molloy - 23 October, 2016
The countdown to the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018 has started, said Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh at the launch of preparations for the event in two years’ time.
Nearly 700 delegates took part in the launch at DCU St Patrick’s College Drumcondra campus, where Dr Martin said: “In choosing Ireland to host the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis has given a gift to our Church and our country which we have accepted with humility and openness to the graces that it can bring. My hopes for the World Meeting keep coming back to that word ‘connection’.
“Family is all about ‘connection’. Family connects us to a home, to ‘ár muintir féin’, the people who are our flesh and blood. It links us to a community, a parish, a county and an ever-expanding network of people and places. Family also connects us to a history and culture, a language and tradition, to our ‘DNA’, our roots, to our past, present and future. Family connects us to faith and values, to baptism and the community of believers. I pray that Ireland’s hosting of the World Meeting of Families will enable families to ‘connect’ and ‘re-connect’ at a whole variety of levels, both with each other and with the wider ‘family of families’ that is their Church.”
The World Meeting of Families, a pastoral initiative established by Pope John Paul II in 1992, has been held at a different location around the world every three years since 1994, which was the UN International Year of the Family. Families from across the world are invited to attend this event, which was last held in Philadelphia in 2015, and delegates participate in discussions about the role of the Christian family in the Church and in society.
When choosing Ireland for the 2018 event, Pope Francis gave it the theme ‘the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world’.